Thursday, January 13, 2011

Àndale Aztec Soup

This is a SUPER cheat for making Aztec Soup. While slow and homemade are wonderful and important aspects in the food world, sometimes you just cannot be bothered and you want food NOW.
Or, in 15 minutes.

The cheat in this is using Rosa Mexicano's Mexican Chicken Broth which already has things like cilantro and jalapeño essences in it, which is why it is such a shortcut. (Fresh Direct carries it, but for anyone not living in the NYC area, that link goes to their website where you can order it directlyAs with pretty much all canned or boxed soup, I am not a fan of their pre-made Aztec Tortilla Soup, so just stick with the broth.)

You will need: onion or shallot, celery, carrot, garlic, tomato, avocado, (cooked) chicken, Mexican Chicken Broth, manchego cheese (or queso fresco), and corn chips and fresh cilantro for garnish.
If you like your food super spicy, by all means add some more fresh jalapeño, but for me this broth is spicy enough as it is.

I start out with the usual suspects: diced onion or shallot, celery, and carrot. Sauté those until tender in a bit of olive oil, maybe 5 minutes. Then add one grated/minced clove of garlic and cook for another minute.
When I'm making just enough for myself with maybe a bit leftover, I use 1 medium carrot, 1 rib of celery, half a medium shallot, and one clove of garlic.
Multiply your amounts accordingly.

After the garlic has cooked out for about a minute I add 8 grape tomatoes (or 1 regular tomato) finely chopped to match the size of the carrots and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and stir.
Then, add as much of the box of Mexican Chicken Stock as you wish to make your soup.
I only use about half the box (2 cups) when making it for myself.
If you have any leftover roast chicken (or you could have poached a chicken breast in the broth before dicing the veg for the previous steps), now would be the time to chop it up and throw it in the pot as well.
Bring everything up to a simmer to heat through.

While the soup comes together and warms through I take 1/4-1/2 of a rip avocado (depending on the size) and score it before removing it from the skin and place in the bottom of your bowl.
Spritz with a bit of fresh lime juice.
Once your soup is hot, ladle it over the avocado.

Top your soup with some grated manchego cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, and either crush some corn tortilla chips over the top or leave on the side for snacking between bites.
This whole meal should only take you about 15-20 minutes start to finish, but it is packed with both flavor and nutrition, and will definitely fill you up and warm you through.
Which is good when the wind chill is only in the teens.

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